The First World War - Part 2 History File


The First World War - Part 2

Archive footage and detailed documentary evidence which brings home to viewers the real effects of the First World War. Includes a look at the Treaty of Versailles.


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Transcript


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On April 24th 1915,

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British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops

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began landing on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli.

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Their aim was to knock Germany's ally Turkey out of the war.

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It was an enormous invasion force.

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By mid-afternoon on the first day, there were 8,000 Allied soldiers on the beaches.

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The Turkish force was heavily outnumbered,

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but the Turkish soldiers stood their ground.

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Their bravery allowed time for reinforcements to arrive.

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Here, as in France,

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the Allies found themselves involved in a war of trenches and stalemate.

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Cyril Lawrence was one of the Anzacs

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the Australian and New Zealand soldiers.

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He was at Gallipoli in the heat of summer, with flies and disease,

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and began to question the British commanders.

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'Daily now, the men are getting weaker.

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'If only those at home,

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'fed on lies as they are, could see how the men really are.

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'Weak as kittens, one mass of sores,

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'and yet as undaunted in spirit as ever.

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'But that spirit can't last forever,

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'and soon these English idiots

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'will have ruined one of the finest bodies of men that ever fought.'

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It was decided that the Gallipoli campaign

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was a waste of officers and men.

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In January 1916,

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with a quarter of a million men killed, wounded or missing,

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the Allies withdrew.

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At Gallipoli, Turks had fought Australians, New Zealanders and Britons.

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What had started as a European war was now something bigger

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a WORLD war.

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So many men were needed for the war

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that England and France had to recruit from their colonies.

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In Africa, newspapers called on people to join up.

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'The present war is a world war.

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'Without you, your white comrades cannot do anything.

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'Everyone who loves his country and respects the British government

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'join this war without hesitation.'

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A West African, Kande Kumara, volunteered for the French army

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and was sent to fight in France.

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'There were all kinds of nationalities.

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'There were Fulas, Karanko,

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'Yuvunkers,

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'Bombaros,

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'Zanufers, Kisae...

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'Toms, Basera,

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'and a lot more.

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'It was terrible and hard.

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'In the white man's war, you never say, "I'm thirsty."

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'You never say, "I'm hungry."

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'You fight and fight and fight

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'until your heart tells you you're afraid.'

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Over a quarter of a million black Africans were killed or wounded in the First World War,

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but their bravery failed to win the respect of either fellow soldiers or the enemy.

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'We were black and we were nothing.

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'Because of the colour of our skins, the Germans called us Boots.

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'This hurt every black man

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'because they actually underestimated us...

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'disgraced and dishonoured us.'

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The British commander was Douglas Haig.

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Many British soldiers remembered him with hatred.

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One such soldier was Fred Pearson.

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'The biggest murderer of the lot was Haig.

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'I'm very bitter always have been and always will be.

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'He lived 50 kilometres behind the lines,

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'and that's about as near as he ever got.

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'I... I don't think he knew what a trench was like.'

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Critics of Haig described soldiers like Fred Pearson

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as "lions led by donkeys".

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His defenders say casualties were no higher than those of other countries.

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They also point out that in the end he did what any general has to do

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he led his troops to victory.

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In June 1916,

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Haig planned an attack along the River Somme.

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It was to start with a massive bombardment of German positions,

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which Haig believed would destroy the German lines.

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Then the Allied soldiers would just walk across No Man's Land

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and capture the enemy's trenches.

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Kenneth McCardle was a second lieutenant from Ireland.

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Like many of the other soldiers,

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he was inspired by the number of shells and mines that he saw arriving at the front.

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'I am not addicted to boasting,

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'but I think if he could see all the guns, the grenades,

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'trench mortars and other stores,

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'if he knew how thoroughly ready we are,

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'and if he could conceive how we are longing for the day,

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'if he knew, the Kaiser would cut his losses and take poison.'

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What Haig didn't know was that the Germans had built deep dug-outs,

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which protected them from the shelling.

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On July 1st 1916,

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the British detonated the first of five massive mines planted underneath the German line.

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The British soldiers were ready to attack across No Man's Land.

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Sgt Fellowes remembered how he felt as he waited for the order to go "over the top".

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'How do you feel as you stand in a trench,

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'awaiting the whistle to blow?

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'Are you frightened? Anxious? Shaking with fear?

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'Or are you ready to go?

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'No-one is anxious to go, my friend. It's a job which must be done.

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'Discipline ensures we obey the rules,

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'but for many, their last day has come.'

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The attack was a disaster.

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KENNETH MCCARDLE: 'As we advanced,

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'German shells littered the battlefield with dead and wounded.

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'All around us and in front, men dropped or staggered about.

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'I found a sergeant and, shouting in his ear, asked where were his officers?

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'"All gone, sir", he shouted back.

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There were 57,000 British and Colonial casualties

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on the first day of the battle.

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As night fell, No Man's Land came alive

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as thousands of wounded soldiers began crawling back to the trenches.

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Only in November did Haig call off the battle.

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There were over one million casualties.

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620,000 British and French,

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and 450,000 German soldiers,

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were killed, wounded or missing.

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The Allied line had advanced by only five miles at most.

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The next year, in 1917,

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Haig planned a new advance at Passchendaele.

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He'd learnt some lessons. The British made better use of their heavy guns.

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They had more shells, aircraft and tanks.

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The troops had become more experienced and used to battle.

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On Easter Monday, the Canadians, British and South Africans

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advanced three and a half miles.

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The attack was so successful that King George V visited the battlefield.

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The fighting resumed as the wettest summer and autumn in years began.

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Haig and his commanders ordered repeated attacks

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across what was now a swamp.

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Haig didn't realise how muddy the ground had become.

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He disliked criticism or discussion,

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so none of his officers told him what it was like.

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Men would get stuck in the mud, and be found dead days later.

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Whole carts and horses disappeared without trace.

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Three months passed before Haig called off the campaign.

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Haig's forces had advanced only five miles.

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Total casualties for both sides

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half a million men killed, wounded or missing.

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The controversy surrounding Haig continues.

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Whatever his defenders may argue,

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it's hard to understand how he was prepared to accept such loss of life amongst his men.

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The trenches were like an alien world.

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It was difficult, even for the people who lived in them for months, to describe it.

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Otto Dicks was a German artist.

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He tried to describe what he saw.

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'Lice, rats, barbed wire,

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'fleas, shells,

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'bombs, underground caves,

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'corpses, blood,

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'liquor, mice,

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'cats, artillery,

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'filth, boots,

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'mortars, fire, steel.

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'That is what war is.

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'It is all the work of the devil.'

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British private, Geary, wrote about it in his own way.

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'As far as the eye could see,

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'there was a mass of black mud with shellholes filled with water.

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'Here and there, a horse's carcass sticking out.

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'Here and there, a corpse.

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'The only sign of life was a rat or two swimming about to find food.'

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For many, the stress of living in the trenches,

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and the constant bombardment, was too much.

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Different soldiers reacted in different ways.

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Some no longer believed their generals,

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and their main aim became just to stay alive.

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Frenchman Louis Barthes was one such soldier.

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HUGE EXPLOSIONS

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The French commander, Robert Nivelle,

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had a new plan to end the war.

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After a massive build-up of arms, he ordered an attack.

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This was the reaction of Louis Barthes.

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'In one night, more cannon shells were fired

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'than in one of Napoleon's campaigns.

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'These men exhausted, poorly fed,

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'stuck in the muddy trenches

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'took the order to attack with murmurs.

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'Not everybody can be a hero.'

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Nivelle's plan was to advance six miles.

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He promised that if they weren't successful in two days, he would stop.

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On the first day, the troops had moved only 600 yards.

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He didn't keep his promise. The battle went on for ten days.

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200,000 men were killed or wounded.

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Soldiers like Barthes had had enough.

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The only full-scale mutiny on the Western Front broke out.

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At first groups, then entire units, refused to re-enter the trenches.

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'Our captain arrived with a police escort.

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'He tried to speak,

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'but his first words were drowned out by the crowd.

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'Seething with rage, but powerless, he ordered a roll call.

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'A crowd of several hundred soldiers crowded around and mocked these orders.

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'For an hour, they hurled abuse at him.

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'Several shots were fired into the air.'

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The mutiny was the best-kept secret of the war.

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The Germans never found out,

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because the French soldiers defended their line while refusing to attack.

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In a way, the mutiny was a success.

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Nivelle was replaced by Petain,

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who improved living conditions and leave arrangements

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and decided to fight a defensive war until the Americans arrived.

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But the mutineers were also punished.

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Hundreds were sent to prison and 49 ringleaders were shot.

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JOLLY MUSICAL INTRODUCTION

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# Take me back to dear old Blighty

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# Put me on the train for London town

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# Take me over there... #

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Allied commanders could see that keeping up morale was important.

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# I would like to see my best girl

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# Cuddling up again we soon shall be... #

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They arranged routines so the soldiers didn't spend all their time on the front line.

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# Blighty is the place for me!

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# Take me back to dear old Blighty... #

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They operated on a rotation system.

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As well as fighting, they would also have time to rest and relax

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in areas three or four miles from the front.

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# ..I don't care! I should like to see my best girl... #

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For a few precious days, the soldiers could forget the constant bombardments,

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the sleepless nights,

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and the dirt and squalor of the trenches.

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At the beginning of 1917, the USA was still neutral.

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Britain and France were trying to get America to join the war on their side,

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but the Americans were only prepared to sell weapons and lend money to the Allies.

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Neither America, or its President, Woodrow Wilson,

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wanted anything to do with the fighting.

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In the end, it wasn't the Allies that made America join the fight,

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it was Germany.

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The Germans said they had the right to sink ships going to the enemy.

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And it didn't matter if there were neutral Americans aboard.

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The most famous ship to be sunk was the Luisitania

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in 1915.

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1,200 people were killed, and 198 of them were US citizens.

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Even then, President Wilson said the USA should remain neutral.

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Germany realised how dangerous it would be if America joined the war,

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so pulled back their U-boats.

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But by 1917, Germany was desperate.

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So they decided to cut off all supply routes to Britain

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by attacking any ship heading there.

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They gambled that Britain would be starved into surrender before the Americans joined the war.

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At the same time, a secret telegram sent by Germany to Mexico was intercepted.

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It proposed Mexico declare war against the United States.

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Their reward would be the states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

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When Woodrow Wilson read this telegram, he felt he had no choice.

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In April 1917, the USA joined the war on the Allied side.

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Wilson explained to the American people that the USA was fighting for democracy

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the right of people to choose their own government,

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as in Britain, France and the USA.

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'It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war.

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'Into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars.

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'But the right is more precious than peace,

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'and we shall fight for things that we carry nearest to our hearts.

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'The world must be made safe for democracy.'

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For Wilson, the war was being fought for very important reasons,

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but he wanted it to be "the war to end all wars",

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so he put together a series of guidelines

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that he believed would lead to a safer, democratic and peaceful world after the war.

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These guidelines were called "The 14 Points".

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In Germany and Austria, the situation for the ordinary people

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was going from bad to worse.

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Since 1916, they had suffered severe shortages of everything,

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including food.

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But for the soldiers, there was some hope.

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A revolution in October 1917 took Russia out of the war,

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so Germany no longer had to fight on two fronts.

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All their troops could be sent to the west.

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The German commander, General Ludendorff, saw that it was Germany's last chance.

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He decided to launch a massive attack on the Allies,

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which he believed would break the stalemate and win the war.

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Rudolf Binding was one of a million German soldiers

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secretly assembled along a 50-mile stretch, near to the Somme.

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'The troops are packed in positions so tight

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'that those in the front have been there for the last ten days.

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'For weeks past,

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'ammunition has been holed and holed night after night

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'to be piled in mountains round the guns.

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'All that is to be poured out on the enemy.

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'Tomorrow, there will be nothing to keep secret,

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'for then hell breaks loose.'

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At 4.40 AM on March 21st 1918,

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German artillery began firing.

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In just four hours, over a million shells

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many of them filled with gas fell on the British lines.

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Specially-trained groups of German stormtroopers,

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armed with machine guns and flamethrowers, broke through.

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Robert Coode was a message runner in the British Army.

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'All wounded have to be left.

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'It has been a nightmare and one that I do not want again.

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'He shells us all day...

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'and in the afternoon, he gives us a touch of his gas.

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'It is extraordinary in its intensity.

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'I was on the ground writhing in agony.

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'I was prepared for the finish.'

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In four days, the German army advanced 14 miles

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the greatest gain of territory since the stalemate of 1914.

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90,000 Allied soldiers were taken prisoner.

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In four months, the Germans launched many attacks on the Allied lines.

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The German plan seemed to be working.

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But the Allies had prepared their defences,

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and for every Allied trench the Germans took,

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there was another one to conquer.

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Ludendorff became more desperate

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throwing in every man he had.

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Australian Cyril Lawrence was at the battle.

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To him, all the Germans were "Fritz".

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'The other day, Fritz made 13 attacks upon our little front.

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'As usual, he came in mass.

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'At one place, seven waves, shoulder to shoulder.

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'But all they got was a devil of a hiding.

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'Our machine guns had the day of their lives.

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'They all agree that it was simply murder.

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'The bodies piled and piled up.

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'Fritz's casualties must be enormous.

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'I think it will be all over shortly.

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'It cannot go on at this rate.'

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Now it was the Allies' turn to attack.

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The German army began to pull back.

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Many of the German soldiers were starving,

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and stopped to loot food, or surrender.

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The German leaders believed if the German army couldn't win THIS battle, they couldn't win the war.

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The Kaiser was told that Germany was going to lose the war.

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The army had failed and there were problems with the navy as well.

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The navy, with its expensive ships,

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had only left port once during the whole war.

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All the sailors were bored and felt badly treated.

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In October, when everyone realised the war was coming to an end,

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the German fleet was ordered to sea to fight.

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The sailors didn't see any point in risking their lives now

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when peace was so close.

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They mutinied.

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Seaman Richard Stumpf began the war as a loyal supporter of the Kaiser.

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'Now the revolution has arrived.

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'This morning, I heard the first flutter of its wings.

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'It came like lightning.

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'It descended with one fell swoop

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'and now holds all of us in its grip.

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'Germany must get rid of the Kaiser and the war,

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'and become a real democracy.'

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The revolt spread from the ships to the docks,

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and from the docks to the streets of Germany's cities.

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The Kaiser and Ludendorff both fled abroad.

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Germany was in chaos.

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German high command asked for a ceasefire before their country was invaded,

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but the Allies demanded Germany surrender.

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The Armistice began on the 11th November 1918.

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In December 1918, Woodrow Wilson set off for the Paris Peace Conference.

0:29:410:29:46

Germany looked to the President to negotiate a fair peace for them,

0:29:460:29:52

based on his 14 Points.

0:29:520:29:55

Wilson thought this was his chance to re-make the world.

0:29:550:29:59

In his 14 Points, it said that all peoples everywhere should be able to decide who should rule them.

0:29:590:30:08

He also wanted to set up an international peace-keeping organisation

0:30:080:30:13

called the League of Nations to prevent another world war.

0:30:130:30:17

Wherever he went, people turned out to welcome him.

0:30:230:30:28

In France, Italy and Britain, thousands greeted him.

0:30:280:30:31

But the leaders of the nations weren't so pleased to see Wilson.

0:30:350:30:40

Britain's Prime Minister, David Lloyd George,

0:30:400:30:43

thought Wilson's plans would mean the end of Britain's empire.

0:30:430:30:48

The French Premier, Georges Clemenceau,

0:30:480:30:51

wanted to make sure Germany could never invade France again.

0:30:510:30:55

And he felt that Wilson's plans just wouldn't work.

0:30:550:31:00

Also at the peace talks were lots of the smaller nations.

0:31:000:31:04

They hoped that Wilson's 14 Points would mean gaining independence.

0:31:040:31:09

'Delegations from all over the world came to me to solicit the friendship of America.

0:31:100:31:17

'They told us that they were not sure they could trust anybody else.

0:31:170:31:22

'Some of them came from countries that I have, to my shame, to admit that I never heard of.'

0:31:220:31:28

Clearly, discussions between the Allies over the peace terms

0:31:280:31:33

weren't going to be easy,

0:31:330:31:36

but a solution was needed to end the chaos throughout Europe.

0:31:360:31:40

Nowhere more so than in Germany.

0:31:400:31:44

The Kaiser had gone,

0:31:440:31:46

and the continuing Allied naval blockade meant food shortages.

0:31:460:31:51

Different political groups were struggling for power.

0:31:510:31:55

People were fighting in the streets of Berlin.

0:31:550:31:59

GUNFIRE

0:31:590:32:01

Germany's new government used ex-soldiers to restore order.

0:32:040:32:09

In just a few days, in January 1919,

0:32:090:32:13

over a thousand people were killed or wounded.

0:32:130:32:17

In Paris, the peace talks were now being held behind closed doors.

0:32:230:32:29

And Wilson was giving in on one point after another.

0:32:300:32:34

A young British diplomat, Harold Nicholson, was called in to advise the leaders.

0:32:400:32:47

He had believed in Woodrow Wilson and his 14 Point plan.

0:32:470:32:51

He was angry that the President was giving in.

0:32:510:32:54

'The door opens.

0:32:580:33:00

'A grand room, with the windows open upon the garden and the sound of water from a fountain.

0:33:000:33:08

'Clemenceau, Lloyd George and President Wilson

0:33:100:33:13

'had pulled up armchairs, and crouched low over the map.

0:33:130:33:17

'It's appalling that these ignorant men should be cutting parts of the world to bits.

0:33:170:33:24

'as if they were dividing a cake.

0:33:240:33:27

'That day, there is a final revision of the frontiers of Austria.

0:33:270:33:32

'Hungary is divided up lazily...

0:33:320:33:36

'carelessly.

0:33:360:33:38

'Then another frontier.

0:33:390:33:42

'Then tea and macaroons.'

0:33:430:33:46

The treaty was signed on June 28th 1919

0:33:580:34:02

five years to the day after Austria's Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, had been shot.

0:34:020:34:09

The spot chosen for the signing was the Palace of Versailles in Paris.

0:34:090:34:15

The treaty said that Germany was guilty of starting the war,

0:34:150:34:20

and so had to pay the full cost.

0:34:200:34:23

Germany was also stripped of all its colonies,

0:34:230:34:26

and only allowed to keep a small army and navy.

0:34:260:34:30

When the German delegates were led in to sign the treaty, Harold Nicholson was there.

0:34:300:34:36

'We enter the Hall Of Mirrors.

0:34:380:34:41

'Through the door, alone and pathetic,

0:34:410:34:46

'come the two German delegates.

0:34:460:34:49

'The silence is terrifying.

0:34:510:34:54

'They keep their eye fixed away from those 2,000 staring eyes.

0:34:540:34:58

'It is almost painful.

0:35:010:35:03

'They sign.'

0:35:070:35:09

EXPLOSIONS

0:35:090:35:11

'Suddenly from the outside comes the crash of guns...

0:35:110:35:16

'thundering a salute.'

0:35:180:35:19

A treaty had been signed, but many believed it had been done too quickly,

0:35:190:35:26

and that a real peace had not been made.

0:35:260:35:29

The many different disputes over borders and territories,

0:35:330:35:37

which had contributed to the start of the war,

0:35:370:35:41

had not been solved.

0:35:410:35:43

Germany felt humiliated,

0:35:430:35:45

and resentful that they were forced to accept complete responsibility and pay such a high price.

0:35:450:35:52

It is easy to criticise the peacemakers.

0:35:560:36:00

Many now think they were trying to do an impossible task in impossible circumstances.

0:36:000:36:07

The peace didn't seem to be worth all the lives that had been lost.

0:36:100:36:15

It was not a lasting peace.

0:36:190:36:22

In September 1939, world war broke out again.

0:36:220:36:26

The children of 1919 would become the soldiers who had to fight and die in it.

0:36:310:36:37

The Great War was over.

0:37:410:37:45

On 11th November 1918, an armistice had been signed.

0:37:450:37:49

The survivors celebrated victory,

0:37:490:37:51

the return of peace and the end of bloodshed.

0:37:510:37:55

They'd left behind the nightmare of destruction of four years of war.

0:38:070:38:13

The cost of those years was beyond imagination, but somehow that cost would have to be counted.

0:38:130:38:20

And the defeated would have to pay the price of peace.

0:38:210:38:25

To the west of Paris stands the great palace of Versailles.

0:38:330:38:38

It was here that the peace treaty with Germany would be signed.

0:38:430:38:47

But before that could happen, much had to be decided.

0:38:470:38:51

In January 1919, two months after the Armistice,

0:38:580:39:02

delegates of the victorious powers arrived in Paris

0:39:020:39:06

for the peace conference to draw up terms for the defeated countries.

0:39:060:39:11

In all, the representatives of 27 nations attended that conference.

0:39:110:39:16

But of all the statesmen who came to Paris,

0:39:220:39:25

the most important were President Wilson of the United States,

0:39:250:39:30

Georges Clemenceau, the French Premier,

0:39:300:39:33

and Lloyd George, Prime Minister of Britain.

0:39:330:39:37

Each had different ideas about the central problem of Germany.

0:39:370:39:42

Clemenceau, like most Frenchman, knew what he wanted from the peace.

0:39:420:39:47

Revenge reparations for the damage the French had suffered

0:39:470:39:51

and guarantees that a similar war could never happen again.

0:39:510:39:55

The idea that Germany should be let off lightly was sheer madness

0:40:010:40:07

to Frenchmen who had seen the effects of the German war machine.

0:40:070:40:12

They wanted a Germany stripped of her wealth and armed forces.

0:40:120:40:17

In contrast,

0:40:300:40:31

Wilson appeared to promise a just and lasting peace, not punishment.

0:40:310:40:36

Europe acclaimed him as the great and good man from the New World.

0:40:360:40:41

His 14 Points seemed to promise a new moral order in international affairs.

0:40:450:40:51

No more secret diplomacy, reduction in armaments,

0:40:510:40:55

and a League of Nations to protect all countries from aggression.

0:40:550:40:59

He didn't want revenge as the French did,

0:40:590:41:03

but there was no question that Germany should get off scot-free.

0:41:030:41:08

While Wilson was planning the future of Europe,

0:41:090:41:13

Americans were losing interest as their boys came home.

0:41:130:41:17

They wanted a peace that wouldn't involve them in Europe.

0:41:170:41:21

It was Lloyd George who fought most strongly for German interests.

0:41:210:41:27

Behind him was a public elated by victory, but eager for revenge.

0:41:270:41:32

The Prime Minister appeared to share their opinion,

0:41:320:41:36

but really had no time for those who wanted to destroy Germany.

0:41:360:41:40

He wanted Germany to remain stable and to recover its strength as a trading partner.

0:41:400:41:47

This was the Germany he feared a land of miserable refugees,

0:41:470:41:52

poverty, homelessness and starvation.

0:41:520:41:55

All conditions likely to provide a perfect breeding ground for the new disease from the east communism.

0:41:550:42:02

In Berlin, his fears had already been realised.

0:42:060:42:11

A communist revolt had broken out there in January.

0:42:110:42:14

While the leaders tried to rouse the masses,

0:42:140:42:18

armed communists occupied key public buildings.

0:42:180:42:21

This challenged Ebert acting president of the German government.

0:42:280:42:34

Army generals brought in ex-soldiers,

0:42:340:42:37

and turned them loose on the communists.

0:42:370:42:41

Berlin briefly became a battlefield.

0:42:410:42:43

Within a week, the revolt was crushed.

0:42:520:42:56

Communist leaders were rounded up...

0:42:560:42:59

and some brutally murdered.

0:42:590:43:02

Post-war politics in Germany were off to a bloody start.

0:43:020:43:07

Meanwhile in Paris, while the German government fought,

0:43:090:43:13

the Allied leaders were arguing over the future of the German people.

0:43:130:43:19

Under their hands, the map of Europe was drawn and re-drawn again.

0:43:230:43:28

After three months of discussion,

0:43:280:43:31

they presented their terms to the Germans.

0:43:310:43:34

Germany lost land in the east, west, and north.

0:43:340:43:38

In the east it was the wide strip of territory

0:43:380:43:42

given to the newly-independent Poland,

0:43:420:43:44

separating East Prussia from the rest of Germany.

0:43:440:43:48

In the west, France took back the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.

0:43:480:43:54

And was also given the right to mine coal in the Saar

0:43:560:44:00

an area placed under League of Nations control for 15 years.

0:44:000:44:05

To protect France,

0:44:060:44:08

Germany was forbidden to station soldiers in the Rhineland

0:44:080:44:13

it was to be occupied by Allied troops until 1935.

0:44:130:44:17

It was not only the loss of territory that Germany resented,

0:44:170:44:22

but also the fact that Czechoslovakia and Poland

0:44:220:44:25

now contained large numbers of Germans.

0:44:250:44:28

To add insult to injury,

0:44:280:44:30

the treaty forbade Austria to unite with Germany.

0:44:300:44:34

Her fortifications were to be destroyed.

0:44:340:44:37

Her army was to be reduced to 100,000 men.

0:44:370:44:42

No airforce.

0:44:420:44:44

No submarines. And to accept blame for the war and to pay reparations.

0:44:440:44:49

In protest, at Scapa Flow, the British naval base,

0:44:490:44:53

the Germans scuttled their fleet

0:44:530:44:55

rather than hand it over to the Allies.

0:44:550:44:59

It was a last defiant gesture.

0:44:590:45:02

Germany had to agree. She was in no position to restart the war.

0:45:020:45:07

So in the high summer of 1919,

0:45:110:45:14

the German delegates were brought to Versailles to sign the treaty.

0:45:140:45:19

It was a compromise peace that satisfied not even one Allied leader,

0:45:190:45:25

and, predictably, the Germans loathed it.

0:45:250:45:28

Inside Germany, the people had been faced with difficult political choices.

0:45:320:45:38

The Communists had failed to wreck the government.

0:45:380:45:42

Other parties suggested a variety of ways of dealing with Germany's problems.

0:45:420:45:47

But when Ebert became president of the new German republic in August 1919,

0:45:500:45:56

he found himself facing other threats.

0:45:560:45:59

There were, for instance, the extreme nationalists,

0:45:590:46:03

who couldn't bring themselves to believe the German army had lost,

0:46:030:46:08

and greeted returning troops as heroes.

0:46:080:46:11

They blamed the government for signing the Armistice, and now the shameful Treaty of Versailles.

0:46:170:46:24

And then there were the Freikorps

0:46:240:46:28

ex-serviceman who'd tasted power fighting the Communists.

0:46:280:46:33

In March 1920, these two forces combined

0:46:360:46:40

to try and take over Berlin.

0:46:400:46:42

The army refused to fire on the Freikorps,

0:46:450:46:48

who were only defeated when the workers of Berlin refused to co-operate with the rebels.

0:46:480:46:54

Political extremism had become part of everyday life.

0:46:540:46:59

And then there was the vital question of reparations.

0:46:590:47:03

In 1921, the Allies were discussing how much Germany should pay.

0:47:030:47:08

Aristide Briand, the French Prime Minister,

0:47:080:47:11

wanted a definite sum to be fixed, and Germany made to pay.

0:47:110:47:16

The rebuilding of war-damaged France was costing a lot of money.

0:47:200:47:24

Why should the French be taxed more heavily to pay for all this,

0:47:280:47:33

when the money could be squeezed out of Germany?

0:47:330:47:37

But the Germans, who'd been summoned to hear the Allied demands,

0:47:430:47:48

protested it would place an intolerable burden on their people.

0:47:480:47:53

They argued that Germany had suffered poverty and unemployment since the war

0:47:530:48:00

and couldn't afford the vast sums demanded by the Allies.

0:48:000:48:04

Germany was in a bitter mood. Reparations would make things worse.

0:48:100:48:16

But these arguments didn't impress the Allies, who fixed the sum at:

0:48:160:48:23

That sum would have to be paid in goods as well as money.

0:48:230:48:28

Most would come from the Ruhr the industrial heart of Germany.

0:48:280:48:33

But at the end of 1922, the Germans fell behind with their payments.

0:48:400:48:45

Raymond Poincare, the French Prime Minister, acted.

0:48:450:48:48

If Germany wouldn't pay in full and on the nail,

0:48:480:48:52

then France would help herself.

0:48:520:48:55

So on 11th January 1923,

0:48:590:49:01

French and Belgian troops entered the Ruhr

0:49:010:49:05

to force the Germans to pay up.

0:49:050:49:08

There was, after Versailles, no German army stop them.

0:49:130:49:17

At first, the French believed they could make the Germans work for them.

0:49:170:49:22

But, suddenly, German politicians and people were united in a common cause

0:49:270:49:33

hatred of the French.

0:49:330:49:35

Huge protest meetings were held all over Germany.

0:49:350:49:39

Workers in the Ruhr refused to co-operate with "the enemy",

0:49:390:49:44

and the German government supported the strikers.

0:49:440:49:47

Germany's industrial heart stopped beating.

0:49:470:49:51

The goods trains that should have been carrying German wealth to France lay idle.

0:49:510:49:58

The French brought in their own workers to get things moving again.

0:49:580:50:05

Their attitude towards the Germans in the Ruhr began to harden.

0:50:110:50:16

They tried to cut the Ruhr off.

0:50:160:50:19

German visitors were searched as if they were entering a foreign land.

0:50:190:50:24

They deported the leaders of the passive resistance,

0:50:300:50:34

German officials, and even the police.

0:50:340:50:37

The result was violence.

0:50:390:50:41

German workers had been killed in riots at Essen in March.

0:50:450:50:50

Their funeral was turned into a vast demonstration of protest.

0:50:500:50:54

Hatred grew.

0:50:540:50:57

Germans began killing French soldiers,

0:50:570:51:00

and at the funeral of one, tempers flared into acts of brutality.

0:51:000:51:05

1923 was disastrous for Germany.

0:51:270:51:29

The great German inflation reached its peak.

0:51:290:51:32

The value of the mark had been dropping,

0:51:320:51:35

so the amount of notes needed to buy things had been increasing.

0:51:350:51:40

Banks became more and more hard pressed to meet the demand for paper money.

0:51:400:51:46

For customers, suitcases replaced wallets.

0:51:460:51:50

To meet this crisis, the government simply printed more money.

0:51:500:51:55

As it lost its value, it cost more and more to pay wages and buy food.

0:51:550:52:00

Hundreds of thousands...

0:52:000:52:03

millions.

0:52:030:52:04

Whatever figure was on the notes meant nothing.

0:52:040:52:08

The German mark was worthless.

0:52:080:52:10

Like a fearful dream, people's life savings were blown away like leaves.

0:52:100:52:15

As Germany slipped towards disaster,

0:52:210:52:24

Gustav Stresemann was appointed Chancellor.

0:52:240:52:28

It was a time of crisis.

0:52:310:52:33

The loss of production in the Ruhr was making inflation worse,

0:52:330:52:37

and Stresemann realised the only way to help the economy was to get production there going again.

0:52:370:52:45

The government also announced that Germany would resume repayment of reparations to get the French out.

0:52:480:52:56

To the nationalists, it looked like a surrender.

0:52:560:53:00

General Ludendorff, who had never accepted Germany's defeat,

0:53:000:53:04

gave his support to Adolf Hitler

0:53:040:53:07

the leader of the new National Socialist party.

0:53:070:53:11

In Munich, the capital of Bavaria,

0:53:110:53:14

they decided to overthrow the government.

0:53:140:53:16

But Hitler's stormtroopers were not yet powerful enough,

0:53:160:53:22

and couldn't get the support of the army or the police.

0:53:220:53:26

Their November uprising failed, and merely ended in confusion

0:53:270:53:32

and 14 deaths.

0:53:320:53:34

Ludendorff and Hitler were put on trial for treason.

0:53:340:53:38

Ludendorff was let off, Hitler was sent to prison,

0:53:380:53:42

where he brooded on his failure in rather comfortable surroundings.

0:53:420:53:48

Meanwhile, inflation was being brought under control.

0:53:490:53:53

The worthless money was destroyed and replaced by a new currency.

0:53:530:53:59

At the same time, a committee under Charles Dawes an American

0:53:590:54:03

was set up by the Allies to scale down reparations,

0:54:030:54:06

so Germany could pay them.

0:54:060:54:09

The German leaders came to London in 1924,

0:54:140:54:18

and agreed to accept the Dawes Plan.

0:54:180:54:21

Stresemann's policy of co-operation began to pay off at that meeting.

0:54:210:54:26

The French agreed to pull out of the Ruhr within a year.

0:54:260:54:30

Their occupation had been unpopular with many allies

0:54:300:54:34

especially Britain, who'd refused to support their attempt to humiliate Germany.

0:54:340:54:40

As industry returned to normal after occupation and inflation, Stresemann triumphed again.

0:54:480:54:55

This time at Locarno in Switzerland.

0:54:550:54:59

Under the Locarno Pact of 1925,

0:55:020:55:04

France, Belgium and Germany agreed to respect frontiers.

0:55:040:55:07

Britain said she'd support any country that was invaded.

0:55:070:55:12

Old enmities seemed to be disappearing,

0:55:150:55:18

and Germany no longer feared a French invasion.

0:55:180:55:22

Finally, at Geneva in September 1926,

0:55:260:55:30

Germany became a full member of the League of Nations.

0:55:300:55:35

Briand, now French Foreign Minister, welcomed Stresemann as an equal.

0:55:380:55:44

It was all very friendly.

0:55:440:55:47

By now, life in Germany appeared to be returning to normal.

0:55:500:55:55

The Germans relaxed.

0:55:590:56:01

The grim aftermath of the war, the humiliation of Versailles,

0:56:090:56:13

the hysteria of 1923,

0:56:130:56:16

all gradually faded beneath the surface of a new prosperity.

0:56:160:56:20

For a nation still paying for a lost war,

0:56:200:56:23

the Germans appeared not to be doing badly.

0:56:230:56:26

They could afford to live it up a little,

0:56:260:56:29

have a good time.

0:56:290:56:32

Three sections that include archive footage and detailed documentary evidence to bring home to students the real effects of the First World War.

Living and Dying - The Great War was the first 'world' war, there were soldiers from Africa, Australia and India as well as Europe. In this section we look at how they all endured the war.

Making Peace - The Treaty of Versailles has been widely criticised and many believe the Second World War was due to its failure. In this section we explore why it was so difficult to make a fair peace.

Making Germany Pay - In this section we look at the traumatic years of the Weimar Republic and the years 1918 to 1929.

For students aged 11 to 14.